Halloween calories can be frightful

When Halloween treats start to cast a spell, TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) can help ward off unwanted pounds with timely coping suggestions.To manage temptation, try the following "out of sight, out of mind" tips: Buy treats that aren't so enticing. If chocolate is a food trigger, buy only gummy treats or small boxes of raisins to distribute to trick-or-treaters. Remove excess candy corn and other sweets immediately after trick-or-treat hours end. Give treats to a food pantry, homeless shelter, or, if needed, toss surplus candy in the garbage. Turn the refrigerator or pantry door into a roadblock rather than an entry point. Decorate it with a frightful image of a monster ready to terrorize a food plan, or a cute orange curtain that literally blocks the way into the vault of food. Remember that Halloween treats can include non-food items. Halloween fun lasts longer when kids receive: Stickers, colorful shoelaces or small containers of bubbles from a party store or dollar store. New pencils - orange or black - to use at school, along with shaped erasers. Pennies, perhaps wrapped in appropriately "slime green" cellophane wrap. Join in the festivities - sensibly There's no need to avoid Halloween parties. During trick-or-treat hours or at costume events, get in the spirit of the season by wearing toy plastic "fangs." Others will love the fun, theatrical look, and the mouthpiece will keep you from overindulging in treats. A tip to limit sugar, suggested by TOPS member Viola Jarvis, outlines how to eat just one cookie. This method, which can make a cookie last 15 to 20 minutes, satisfies a craving for sugar while adding minimal calories. Follow these four steps: Buy the kind of sandwich cookie that has frosting in the middle. Twist the cookie apart and lick each side slowly until the cream is gone. This will take several minutes and provide a mindful sugary sensation. Nibble the two cookie halves in tiny bites, enjoying the texture of crumbs being chewed and swallowed. Halloween baking Costume the top of the following recipe with dollops of fat-free whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. Another festive look is to put jack-o'-lantern faces on each serving. Just before serving, tint fat-free whipped cream with orange food coloring, and frost the cake with it. Dot each serving with raisins for eyes and add pineapple tidbits for a crooked grin. Pumpkin Cake 4 eggs, beaten ¾ cup sugar ¼ cup canola oil 1 cup unsweetened applesauce 1 30-ounce can pumpkin pie filling 3 cups whole-wheat flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 tablespoon cinnamon, or to taste ¾ cup raisins ¼ cup chopped walnuts Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce and pumpkin. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Combine wet and dry ingredients just until moistened. Add raisins and nuts. Spoon batter into two loaf pans or one bundt pan. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Makes 16 servings. (This recipe can also be converted into cupcakes for handy individual servings. Lessen cooking time as needed.) TOPS Club was established more than 61 years ago to champion weight-loss support and success. Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, visit www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.

********** Published: October 9, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 25